FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — While most of the SEC is having a weekend of games that could cure insomnia, Arkansas’ game with Florida International does have some interesting intrigue to it. You shouldn’t need a refresher course to know the Razorbacks have fallen flat on their face in some of these games.
Remember Western Kentucky? How about Colorado State? Or even some wins that were considerably closer than they should have been. A narrow win over Coastal Carolina didn’t help bret Bielema at all back in 2017. Any doubters then sort of jumped off the wagon.
Now Sam Pittman has a team stumbling into a game most people expected to be a blowout with a 3-7 record, no bowl game possibility and more questions than answers. We’ll find out if they quit or did it just look like that in a 48-10 loss to Auburn last week.
Exactly why the Hogs are putting KJ Jefferson under center or Pittman hasn’t talked with him about next season at this point is a head-shaker. Ole Miss has already announced Jaxson Dart is coming back next year and that was from coach Lane Kiffin. The Rebels are only 8-2 this season, losing to the two teams that will be playing in the SEC Championship so why should anybody pay attention to that, right?
There were questions about this team back in spring practice and they haven’t been answered. You can spin numbers however you want, but this year’s defense everyone thinks is vastly improved has given up more yards than the offense has been able to cover. The excuse-makers will put that squarely on the offensive side of the ball, ignoring that wouldn’t be a big deal if the record was 7-3 and not 3-7.
While most of the folks this week have gone from expecting Pittman to be fired to accepting that he will be back for another year, everybody agrees if they lose this one, well, athletics director Hunter Yurachek has to pull the trigger and figure out a way to cover everything. Pittman is just trying to scramble to keep whatever fans are left by now kinda interested with a basketball team having a lot of promise for a big season with high expectations.
The Hogs are favored by 29 against the Panthers, who are probably the worst team in this complete train wreck of a season. When Arkansas lost at home to BYU, walking out of Razorback Stadium, you just had a feeling this wasn’t going to be a great season.
It was apparent back in spring practice something just wasn’t right about this team. I couldn’t put my finger directly on what the issue was and we don’t get to be around things enough to really find out. Too many questions and circle-type answers when asked those questions. Add in you’re never going to get a straight, honest answer anyway, so you just have to rely on other things to figure anything out.
Expect the Razorbacks to win the game. Even I think that’s going to happen, but Pittman needs a little more than that right now. With the Hogs favored by 29 points, this may be one of those times Pittman actually would run up the score on a fellow coach. Normally, he wouldn’t do that, but now he needs to cover that big number.
He may think winning by three touchdowns is still a win, but this is a game he can’t come out ahead with anything short of a completely ridiculous number. Is Pittman even willing to do that if he gets a chance? He may not have a choice this week.
Hogs 45, FIU 7
I’m not even going to beat up on poor Pete Morgan this week. Unlike Pittman, I don’t have to win by the ridiculous amount I’m leading our competition by this year. No point in picking on helpless folks.
Considering Texas A&M and Mississippi State played a game last week, then both head coaches got fired, it’s not a good week for drama. Next week will be interesting, though, with a lot of rivalry games. For those who like watching sports, this is a complete week. Starting Friday night, there will be football and basketball games from early in the day to late at night to watch.
Just don’t expect a lot of really good matchups across the SEC, though.
Chattanooga at Alabama (NL): Prime exhibit No. 1 is this one. Nick Saban scheduled it before the Auburn game because he’s preparing the Crimson Tide for the game with Georgia and trying to squeeze into the playoffs. This is a game he’ll be watching the focus and attention to detail. Bama 61, Chattanooga 3
UL-Monroe at Ole Miss (-37.5): With a morning game in The Grove, people may have cots set up and still sleeping. This is probably a bigger spread than when the Hogs got shocked in 2012. The Rebels are wanting to put up some impressive numbers for a New Year’s Six bowl game and they’ll probably get there. Rebels 54, Warhawks 13
Southern Miss at Mississippi State (-17.5): When the Bulldogs are favored by this much with an interim coach, how bad are the Eagles this year? Whew, this one will be like watching two mules fight over a turnip in an empty field. Can State score 30 points in a game? Probably not. Bulldogs 29, Eagles 10
Abilene Christian at Texas A&M (NL): Okay, if you think this is getting ridiculous, hang on because we’re nowhere near finished with this list of clunkers in the league this week. All Aggies in this week, all the time. Aggies 69, Others 11
Georgia (-10) at Tennessee: The Bulldogs get their breather game next week against Georgia Tech. The Vols may be No. 18 in the rankings this week, but they probably won’t be anywhere near that by Sunday night when the new polls come out. Bulldogs 31, Vols 17
New Mexico State at Auburn (-25): We have another team named Aggies, so don’t accuse me of having a senior moment and getting them confused with Texas A&M. It’s just easier to type that than the entire name again. Tigers move up a notch in bowl game with this one. Tigers 34, Aggies 10
Florida at Missouri(-11): Hogs better hope the Gators don’t suddenly find a burst of energy this week and do something stupid. The last thing they need are the Tigers coming to town next Friday with some motivation from a bad game. Tigers 24, Gators 14
Kentucky at South Carolina (-2): Apparently the Wildcats are still who they’ve always been and the fans are looking ahead to basketball starting. The Gamecocks still have a remote shot at a bowl game, but have to get a win here and against Clemson next week to make it. Believe it or not, they may have a better chance than anyone thought in August. Gamecocks 27, Wildcats 21
Georgia State at LSU (-32): Thank goodness, this is the end. Like I said, it’s not a good week for big matchups in the league, although a couple more looked in the summer to be interesting, it didn’t play out that way. This one won’t be close, like so many of the others. Tigers 48, Panthers 17